British Defense Secretary Liam Fox has been forced to resign following several days of allegations surrounding his dealings with a close friend who styled himself as the Minister’s adviser. The friend, Adam Werritty, was himself funded by assorted groups and lobbyists, creating the impression that Fox was pursuing his own foreign agenda alongside the government’s official policy. There is a good round-up of events here.
There’s no doubt that Fox made serious mistakes, notably by allowing Werritty to give the impression that he worked for Fox in some official capacity. But Fox himself was not proved to have to engaged in any wrong doing. But this was a case of a ‘scandal’ building up a momentum unrelated to the facts, and with British forces still involved in Libya, and heavily engaged in Afghanistan, Fox’s position had become untenable.
Fox was widely regarded as an outstanding Defense Minister; he was also the most conservative member of the cabinet, and a leading figure on the Tory right. He was an uncompromising supporter of close relations with the United States, and with Israel – positions which are not widely shared in Cameron’s coalition government, and which are even less popular among the ‘anything for a quiet life’ time-servers of the permanent government bureaucracy.
America has lost a strong ally, and British conservatives have, for now, lost a politician regarded as the keeper of the Thatcherite flame.